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This article was published on August 28th, 2019
Not everyone can be the perfect cyclist. Whilst many of us might like to believe that we are the next Bradley Wiggins, the truth of the matter is, most people have bad cycling habits that either hold them back or affect how safe their cycling style is, causing a cycling injury in the process.
Whether you’re competing, training or just a fan of a leisurely cycle with family or friends, we want to help ensure you’re safe whenever you head out on your bike.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the bad cycling habits that could potentially put a cyclist in danger, as well as things cyclists do that might stop them from reaching their peak performance.
There are bad habits that can annoy other cyclists or road users and then there are some bad habits that could cost you your life.
Remember as a child your parents saying “You can’t go out on your bike unless you put your helmet on”? As ever, parents know best. In fact, a helmet could be the difference between life and death in some cases.
A study also revealed that wearing a cycling helmet can reduce the risk of suffering a serious head injury by nearly 70%.
If you’re not already wearing a helmet whilst you cycle, there’s no better time to invest in one. A snug-fitting comfortable helmet is a must and there are a host of shapes, sizes and colours available to suit any taste.
So next time you’re thinking of heading out on a bike, make sure you have your helmet on first.
Whilst failing to don a helmet is a bad cycling habit, it’s by no means the only equipment related faux pas that could land a cyclist in hot water.
If your bike is a mode of transport that you use every day then maintaining it is essential. Keeping on top of the elements of your bike including the chain, brake pads/discs or the frame itself can feel trivial, but it’s a fact that a well-maintained bike will prove to be safer to ride in the long run and help you avoid a cycling injury.
Make sure you keep the bike clean and give it a once-over at least twice per week to ensure all the components are in working order. If you’re not sure what you should be checking, check out our guide to cleaning and maintaining your bike.
Whilst broken equipment is obviously going to be of detriment to your safety, what equipment you use and what you wear can also have a big impact.
We’ve already mentioned a helmet, but failing to wear other item is also a bad habit.
In particular, you should never get on your bike without clothing or lights that increase your visibility as being seen could be the difference between an enjoyable ride or a disastrous one that ends in a hospital visit.
If you’re cycling in a pair or a group it’s vital that you remain aware of your surroundings and an integral part of doing so is pointing out any dangers that may lie on the road ahead.
However, one habit that can be dangerous is pointing out every little thing that could potentially cause an issue. For example, a small twig blowing across the road is not as dangerous as a pothole.
Pointing out every minor danger could result in a loss of focus for the person riding at the front, and the trailing cyclist or group could be put on edge, resulting in an uncomfortable and less than confident ride.
Likewise, not pointing out dangers can be a habit that could result in a dangerous cycling incident. There are no set rules as to which hazards should be pointed out, however, the rule of thumb is, if the hazard may damage your bike or affect your ride, then it’s likely it will do the same for the following cyclists and so pointing it out is the smart thing to do.
Being able to filter through stationary traffic is one of the perks of using a bike as your primary means of transport and can result in quicker journeys, particularly for those cyclists who commute through urban areas.
However, filtering can also be one of the biggest dangers for cyclists if it is not done properly.
Filtering on the right, for the most part, is safer than attempting to filter on the left of a vehicle.
Cyclists who attempt to pass on the left of a vehicle, otherwise known as undertaking, are placing themselves in the blind spot of the driver of the vehicle they are attempting to pass.
By entering the blind spot it goes without saying that they won’t be seen and therefore run the risk of the driver of a vehicle colliding with them if they edge over to the left, or worse, attempt a left turn.
In either of these two examples, the cyclist could be caught under the wheels of the car or be involved in a collision with potentially lethal consequences.
When filtering, it is always best practice to move through traffic on the right-hand side of vehicles in order to remain as visible as possible for drivers.
Make sure you cycle past leaving plenty of space between you and the vehicle to your left, to avoid the risk of car dooring.
One point worth noting is that if filtering will only move you past a car or two, it’s seldom worth doing as you run the risk of the traffic flow becoming mobile with you and your bike caught between two lanes.
Likewise, it’s worth remembering that you don’t have to filter at all. If you’re not a confident cyclist it’s best to remain in your lane and follow traffic once it begins to move again.
The wind in your hair and your favourite song in your ears may sound like the perfect combination, but for cyclists, it’s a bad habit that could result in a serious cycling injury.
While it isn’t illegal to have earphones in while you ride, it’s not advisable.
As a cyclist you are a vulnerable road user and having your wits about you and using all your senses to ascertain whether or not anything dangerous is around you, is a key part of staying injury-free to cycle another day.
If you really can’t live without music then opt for earphones that don’t block the ear canals. Accessories like the Aftershokz Trekz utilise bone conduction technology allowing cyclists to hear ambient noise, whilst also being able to listen to their music on their ride.
What to do if you’re involved in a cycling accident
If you’re injured in a cycling accident, it can be a very difficult time for both you and your family. Our team of cycling accident solicitors are experts in their field and share your passion for cycling. They will do all they can to secure the emotional support and medical treatment you may need following your cycling accident, as well as assisting you to achieve the maximum amount of financial compensation.
If you have been injured in a cycling accident then you can speak to a member of our team today. We offer a free initial consultation to assess the viability of your claim and we work on a no win no fee basis.
To speak to a cycling accident solicitor today about your cycling injury, please call 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you at a more suitable time.